Coronavirus (COVID-19): guidance for people receiving Direct Payments
Supporting Direct Payment users
Kingston Council have introduced changes to support Direct Payment users in line with Government guidelines, these include:
Mandatory requirements through internal recording systems
Sharing Direct Payment information with individuals through Kingston Centre for Independent Living (KCIL) and Kingston Carers Network (KCN)
RBK are maintaining high-risk registers ensuring that the social care teams are equipped to support users in response to any emergencies or unplanned changes to their circumstances
Working closely with voluntary sector organisations to provide support with managing demand, obtaining PPE and testing, and vaccination.
Personal Assistants access to Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
The Department for Health and Social Care have committed to providing free PPE for COVID-19 needs.
If you employ a personal assistant and there’s a need for you to wear PPE to comply with the government PPE guidance, you are entitled to order this for free. Do not pay for this from your Direct Payment funding.
Wearing of PPE especially applies if you or a member of your household falls within the ‘clinically extremely vulnerable’ group, where your personal assistant will need to follow advice on the use of PPE.
To access PPE through Kingston Council Email: email@example.com Tel. 0208 547 5005
Where Direct Payment holders arrange for a support provider (Agency), the provider should arrange appropriate PPE.
Continuing to allow flexibility
1. If you find that your support arrangements have stopped or broken down you should follow your agreed emergency plan. If you are unable to find alternative support or put in place another arrangement, please contact your allocated social care worker who will help respond to your care needs.They will work with you to find the right support, and put in place new or temporary arrangements such as mutual aid or an alternative solution arranged by the Council.
2. Where possible Direct Payment reviews will continue as planned during the pandemic. Should you request a review, we will prioritise it and respond as soon as we can. If your circumstances change, please contact your allocated social care worker in the first instance.
3. As support organisations and Personal Assistants are recognised as essential workers, they are expected to continue working and follow the latest government guidance, while complying with infection control guidelines.
4. You must speak to Kingston Council if you are considering to employ family members. This is to ensure that the amount they’re paid and the duration they will be providing this care is agreed as well as the arrangement of employment responsibilities required by law.
When Kingston Council decide if it is necessary for a family member to support, we will consider the following:
The reason your existing PA or support provider cannot continue to support you.
Normal employment and payroll processes will need to be followed - including. agreeing hours, pay rates and duration of support.
Whether the family member being considered require any additional training and assessment of competence to carry out the duties to meet the needs.
Any additional costs involved are required if not met within the existing budget.
The impact on any financial benefits the worker will receive, such as any income being declared to HMRC through the usual employment process.
The impact on the health and wellbeing of the family member, and if their care duties add an unreasonable amount of strain on them over the long-term. Family members are often already providing significant levels of care and support and we would expect them to step in voluntarily to meet short-term care needs, however longer term arrangements may be detrimental to their wellbeing.
If the family member is also the Direct Payment holder, there will be a conflict of interest. In this instance employment of the family member through an agency or third party may be a more preferable solution.
If the family member is also an employee (PA), this will be considered as this could potentially affect boundaries and family relationships.
Making payments for services you’re not able to use
You are not required to make payments for services that you are unable to use, access or attend unless this is clearly stated in the contract you hold with that provider (refer to your contracts/agreements). If you are required to continue making payments, even though you do not receive the service or haven’t requested it, please contact us to discuss as soon as possible.
You should not be paying for services if the provider has not been supporting you (Except for PAYE Personal Assistants where employment rules may apply). At your next review we will ask for the return of the money not used to meet your needs during the pandemic. Please speak to your allocated social care worker if you need more information or advice.
Developing an emergency plan
We recommend that everybody with a Direct Payment develops an emergency plan to address any unexpected changes or events that might happen. If you already have an existing plan, we recommend you update it to ensure that your needs can continue to be met should your care arrangements be at risk of breaking down. You should discuss and agree this plan with your allocated social care worker, so it’s ready for use should you need it. Aspects that would be helpful to include and cover in the plan are;
Staffing (if you have Personal Assistants)
Different care and support arrangements
Different networks of support
Upskilling of existing staff
Reviewing of Direct Payments during the pandemic
Direct Payments will continue to be reviewed through the pandemic and we’ll take a proportionate approach on how Direct Payments have been spent. Records should be kept as normal so they are available when the next review takes place. If your circumstances have changed please speak to your allocated social care worker so we can prioritise where urgent support is needed.
Evidencing spending during the pandemic
As normal practice, you should continue to keep hold of any receipts or evidence of expenses showing how the Direct Payment has been used. Remember to have them available at your next review with Kingston Council along with your bank statements when requested.
How do Direct Payment holders contact the Council?
The local area helpline number is: 0208 547 5005 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org . You will be directed to your allocated social care worker/team to help and answer any questions about your support needs.
These arrangements will not continue beyond the period of the Coronavirus Act 2020 and may change as new measures are taken, the vaccination is rolled out, and guidance is updated in response to the developments in the pandemic.
ASC Direct Payments
ASC Direct PaymentsAddress: